Images by Zac Sebastian
Swedish Midsummer is officially my new favorite holiday. Over the weekend, my gorgeous Swedish friend Elin Svahn, invited me to the Soho Grand Hotel for a traditional Midsommar dinner, complete with a delicious Swedish meal and piles of flowers to pin into our hair. We all took way too many shots of a mysterious 80 proof liquor that came in a green bottle and ended up hopping from the after-party to another Midsummer party at White Slab, to Kenmare, to the Tribeca Grand Hotel's Friday night party, and back to Kenmare for some seriously late-night debauchery. Yikes.
One thing I got out of the night (besides a morning-after throbbing headache) was a new determination to perfect my recipe for Swedish meat balls. The ones that were served at dinner were completely delightful and inspired me to try making my own. Here's the recipe I used. I must say, it's pretty close to flawless. Maybe next year, I'll throw my own Swedish Midsummer party.
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk until very soft, 5 minutes. In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Let cool.
Add the ground pork and beef to the soaked bread. Gently mix in the cooked onion, celery salt, kosher salt and beaten egg until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Shape the meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. In a large skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the meatballs and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes; reduce the heat to moderately low if the meatballs begin to brown too quickly. Drain on paper towels.
Pour off the fat from the skillet, add the cream and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer over moderately low heat until reduced by one-third, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Return the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes before serving.